Thailand changes tourist visa-exempt rules: 30 more days approved

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Visa stampEffective 29 August 2014, tourists from 49 countries who were permitted to enter Thailand for 30 days on what is called a “visa exempt” stamp, will be able to extend their stay for a further 30 days. In the past, it was only possible to extend a 30-day visa exempt stamp for an extra 7 days.

Tourists will need to apply for the 30 additional days, a same-day process which will cost 1900 baht ($59), at an immigration office in Thailand.Only one 30-day extension is permitted.

Visa exempt stamps, often mislabeled as visas on arrival by travelers, are frequently used by business travelers and tourists to enter Thailand, as it saves them the time, money and effort to apply for a visa outside the country. This new regulation will allow such travelers to stay for 60 days, albeit with a visit to an immigration office.

Passport holders of the following 49 countries will be able to apply for an extra 30 days from 29 August 2014:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam.

However, for people who are using the visa waiver to stay long-term in Thailand by doing consecutive visa runs (leaving the country and reentering shortly after), the situation has become more difficult, as immigration officials now check the purpose of stay in Thailand for those in-out “tourists” more diligently. People who have multiple exit-entry stamps might be denied entry at borders.

But in a recent move, Thailand’s Prime Minister and junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has acknowledged that the tightening of visa rules put especially English teachers in a precarious situation and instructed immigration officials to be “flexible” with visa runners. The announcement in his weekly TV speech likely brought relief to foreign travelers and expats who rely on visa runs to stay in Thailand albeit it is not clear what “flexible” exactly means. Visa runners can at least register with the Immigration Bureau, and officials will help them find a longer-term option for their situation, Chan-ocha said.

Another major change in visa regulations is affecting the education visa which is granted to foreigners to enroll in certain studies and courses at private learning institutions such as Thai language, religion and sports. This kind of visa has been used by many for long-term stays without actually attending classes and was extendable for up to three years.

People with education visas now get an extension of stay for only 90 days maximum at a time, and the duration of the stay based on the study may not be longer than one year from date of entry into Thailand. They also will have to attend courses for a minimum of eight hours a week. If these students wish to stay longer, they will have to leave Thailand to apply for a new visa once their current one expires.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Effective 29 August 2014, tourists from 49 countries who were permitted to enter Thailand for 30 days on what is called a “visa exempt” stamp, will be able to extend their stay for a further 30 days. In the past, it was only possible to extend a 30-day visa exempt stamp for an extra 7 days.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Visa stampEffective 29 August 2014, tourists from 49 countries who were permitted to enter Thailand for 30 days on what is called a “visa exempt” stamp, will be able to extend their stay for a further 30 days. In the past, it was only possible to extend a 30-day visa exempt stamp for an extra 7 days.

Tourists will need to apply for the 30 additional days, a same-day process which will cost 1900 baht ($59), at an immigration office in Thailand.Only one 30-day extension is permitted.

Visa exempt stamps, often mislabeled as visas on arrival by travelers, are frequently used by business travelers and tourists to enter Thailand, as it saves them the time, money and effort to apply for a visa outside the country. This new regulation will allow such travelers to stay for 60 days, albeit with a visit to an immigration office.

Passport holders of the following 49 countries will be able to apply for an extra 30 days from 29 August 2014:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam.

However, for people who are using the visa waiver to stay long-term in Thailand by doing consecutive visa runs (leaving the country and reentering shortly after), the situation has become more difficult, as immigration officials now check the purpose of stay in Thailand for those in-out “tourists” more diligently. People who have multiple exit-entry stamps might be denied entry at borders.

But in a recent move, Thailand’s Prime Minister and junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has acknowledged that the tightening of visa rules put especially English teachers in a precarious situation and instructed immigration officials to be “flexible” with visa runners. The announcement in his weekly TV speech likely brought relief to foreign travelers and expats who rely on visa runs to stay in Thailand albeit it is not clear what “flexible” exactly means. Visa runners can at least register with the Immigration Bureau, and officials will help them find a longer-term option for their situation, Chan-ocha said.

Another major change in visa regulations is affecting the education visa which is granted to foreigners to enroll in certain studies and courses at private learning institutions such as Thai language, religion and sports. This kind of visa has been used by many for long-term stays without actually attending classes and was extendable for up to three years.

People with education visas now get an extension of stay for only 90 days maximum at a time, and the duration of the stay based on the study may not be longer than one year from date of entry into Thailand. They also will have to attend courses for a minimum of eight hours a week. If these students wish to stay longer, they will have to leave Thailand to apply for a new visa once their current one expires.

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